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Botulism Fears Bring Herring Recall

Haifa Smoked Fish, located in Queens, New York, is recalling Haifa brand vacuum packaged Whole Schmaltz Herring because the product was found to be uneviscerated.

The lot being recalled is a product of Norway, individually vacuum-packed in clear plastic pouches with lot # 20 indicated on the label and distributed through various food retailers in the states of New York and New Jersey.

A New York State Agriculture and Markets Food Inspector sampled the Whole Schmaltz Herring during a routine inspection. Subsequent analysis of the product by New York State Food Laboratory personnel confirmed that Whole Schmaltz Herring was not properly eviscerated prior to processing.

The sale of uneviscerated fish is prohibited under New York State Agriculture and Markets regulations because Clostridium Botulinum spores are more likely to be concentrated in the viscera than any other portion of the fish.

Uneviscerated fish has been linked to outbreaks of botulism poisoning.

Botulism is a serious and potentially fatal form of food poisoning, causes the following symptoms: general weakness, dizziness, double vision, and trouble with speaking or swallowing. Difficulty in breathing, weakness of other muscles, abdominal distension and constipation may also be common symptoms. People experiencing these problems should seek immediate medical attention.

No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this problem.

Consumers are warned not to use the product even if it does not look or smell spoiled and should return it to the place of purchase. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 718-523-8899.

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